Audlem entertained Porthill Park 3's for their last game of the season on Saturday knowing that promotion was out of their hands. All they could do was win the game and hope Checkley could spring a surprise away at Newcastle.
Skipper Chris Shenton won the toss and elected to field on a bright sunny day. The ground looked as well as it had done all season and with a lightening outfield Porthill got off to a rapid start. Despite Swift taking a brilliant caught and bowled early on, Chris Tatton 48 and Joe Price 29 helped the away side race to 80 for 1 off 15 overs. A target of well over 200 looked on the cards.
The introduction of Saini Nair and veteran spinner Neil Humphries turned the game on its head. Whilst wickets didn't fall regularly Porthill suddenly found scoring difficult to come by. Nair was rewarded with two wickets for just 22 from his 8 overs whilst Humphries had almost identical figures of 2 for 25 from his 8. The dangerous Craig Chorlton was holding the Porthill innings together but a sensational bit of fielding from Callum Mcilveen bought his innings to an end for a well made 50. The wicket meant Porthill had no momentum for the last few overs and Porthill limped to 194 for 6 off their allotted 40 overs.
Skipper Shenton and star bat Dan Buttler soon made inroads into the chase. Both batsman used the pace on the ball and the quick outfield to help find the boundary on regular occasion. At drinks Audlem had reached the unfamiliar position of 110 without loss, both batsman having passed 50.
An exhausted Shenton who had kept wicket for 40 overs soon fell after the drinks break for 51. This bought Rich Wilson to the crease. He and Buttler continued to take the assault to the Porthill bowlers. Wilson raced to 49 with several lusty blows scattering the onlooking crowd. He was denied his 50 as Butler hit the winning runs to finish unbeaten on 85, Audlem chasing the total in just 31 overs.
Sadly Newcastle won convincingly, therefore preventing Audlem gaining back to back promotions.
With the sad passing of former Chairman and all round Audlem legend Andy Capper it was a season that will be forever tinged with sadness, one where cricket results really did take the back seat. However the sight of a large crowd that turned out for the end of season BBQ will be one of the season highlights. A packed car park full of family's and friends shows what the cricket club is all about.
We go again next year, it's been a fantastic year in which the club continues to thrive and grow. Anyone who wants to get out their whites and come and give the game a go please get in touch, we welcome all new players.
It will be a long winter but spring will soon be here and Audlem CC will be raring to go again!